I’ve been piecing together a bit of a puzzle here of late.
As we all know, Pearl has gained a little weight since Christmas, and truthfully, she hadn’t lost much after switching to Raw.
Her sweet tooth is the size of an iceberg…the part that’s below the water surface.
She LOVES fruit. All kinds.
Despite our daily walks, when all that sugar (albeit natural. it’s still sugar) is coupled with her post-menopausal metabolism (she’s spayed), it’s a recipe for roundness that’s not in her best interest.
Also, so much sugar in her diet can cause a yeast imbalance.
She has cloudy, smelly urine, and gunk in her ears. And she scratches. A lot.
A few weeks ago, she presented with what appeared to be …
…a bladder infection!
When I came home from work one night, there was a puddle in her crate. Then, after our squatting several times on our evening walk, she went on the floor by the back door. The frequent urination while on the walk didn’t concern me. But when I cleaned up the spot by the door, it had blood in it.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
I mean, that’s what prompted our switch to Raw last summer. Everything has been fine until now.
I hear your sneers. (Stow it, Flo!)
What have I done wrong?
My hypothesis is this: After I began feeding so many fruit smoothies, her body was able to absorb the nutrition in the fruit (and the sugar) much more so than when I was rough chopping it. She now consumed it in a useful form instead of it just passing through her making colorful poop rainbows. So in addition to making her fat, it’s causing excessive yeast in her system, which may be contributing to the urine issue.
What to do?
First things first.
Dr. Natalie told me that blood in urine is not necessarily always caused by an infection. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the cause is sometimes attributed to “heat” in the liver, which can be caused by some sort of trauma (physical or emotional) or toxin (like a vaccine or medication) or other imbalance (excess yeast, perhaps?).
So I set out to “cool” and detox the liver.
I immediately thought of Basil tea with Slippery Elm Bark. Slippery Elm Bark is wonderful for calming the digestive tract, but also has, in my experience, a healing effect on the bladder as well. Basil tea is basically a cure all. Mix the two, and wow.
I also keep milk thistle seed in my dried herbs. It is super awesome for liver support. I grind the seeds then add them to smoothies or on top of the evening meal.
Two days later…no more blood in the urine!
(Do y’all like how I link back to my old posts? Smart, huh?)
Duck and Rabbit are cooling proteins. So we picked up some Stella & Chewy’s ‘Duck Duck Goose’ freeze-dried duck formula. We also keep a healthy stock of Orijen Free-Run Duck treats. Freeze-dried, whole prey treats. Duck. The whole duck. And nothing but the duck.
Then I made a healthy, homemade bone broth with some grass-fed, hormone-free beef bones from a local farmer to use to rehydrate the food instead of plain water. Beef is a ‘neutral’ protein (meaning neither warming nor cooling) and can be used in combination with other cooling or warming foods to provide variety.
Next, as Dr. Karen Becker says in this outstanding article, I needed to cut the food source for the yeast, i.e., sugar.
Yeast needs sugar to survive, so we had to dramatically reduce or eliminate the sugar in her diet, which meant dialing way, way back on all the fruit. And, since yeast is a fungus, we needed an anti-fungal. Enter: garlic.
I picked up kale, broccoli, heirloom carrots and tomatoes at the farmer’s market, all of which are cooling and contain very little sugar. I added powdered kelp from my pantry (which they have a the Whole Dog Market), which should cool things down as well.
Are you ready for a VEGGIE SMOOTHIE recipe? Here goes:
- 2 small kale leaves, stemmed
- small bunch of fresh basil
- 2 broccoli florets
- 1/2 small carrot
- 1 teaspoon powdered kelp
- 4 oz Answers goat’s milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Blend until smooth. Makes about 8 oz. Pearl and Truman each get 4 oz for breakfast.
I was afraid they wouldn’t eat it because there was no sugar in there, but they both lapped it up like a boss!
After a couple of weeks, Pearl had dropped over half a pound. After a month, she’s down another pound and back to pre-Christmas weight. I’ve also noticed a big difference in how much they scratch. And the urine is back to normal. Her ears are clean and pink. Their breath is pleasant. The poops are dark, solid and healthy. The liver has obviously cooled, and the yeast is on the run.
Food is medicine!
There are lessons here.
1. Don’t let your dog convince you to feed her too much fruit.
2. Don’t freak out at the first sign of a little urine discharge. You can treat it naturally with a little patience and know-how. But, if after a couple of days you don’t see a change for the better, definitely go see the vet.
3. You may be surprised by how much your dog likes a veggie smoothie.
Live and learn!
pugs & kisses,